Category: compassion

BEING CONTENT WITH WHAT YOU HAVE…

VA-YISHLACH — Everyone has his or her own methods for calculating happiness. We all have different criteria that we think are important and often judge our level of comfort based on these things. While it is often easy to list all that we wish we had, sometimes it is harder to take stock of what we already have. Sometimes, we simply need a reminder to be appreciative of our lives and give proper value to what we might take for granted. This week’s Torah portion, Va-Yishlach, contains the story of two brothers, Jacob and Esau. At one point in the story Esau expresses to Jacob that he has enough, and Jacob...

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TITHING…

VA-YETZE — We all have something to give. By giving, we show that we are responsible for those less fortunate in our communities and, more broadly, in the world. We can give financially, starting as small as a child setting aside a small part of his or her allowance. Or we can give by volunteering our time. Especially when we feel things are missing in our own lives, helping others can help us realize how we are blessed in different ways. In this week’s Torah portion, Va-Yetze, Jacob promises to give a tenth of everything he receives. At this point,...

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AVOIDING HURTING WORDS…

VA-YERA —  We use words to express so many different things: from basic things like “I’m hungry” to deeper things like “I love you.” Words have power to do good, but it is easy to forget how much harm we can do with them. We often think that our words cannot be hurtful if the person we are speaking about is not around. But with the prevalence of e-mail, texting, and twitter, seldom do our words end when we first express them. It is safe to assume that any words we say will be heard again. In this week’s...

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SIBLING RIVALRY…

BERESHIT — Family tensions are easily created between siblings. Feeling overshadowed because of the accomplishments of our brother or sister, or feeling overlooked by parents, are frequent causes. How can we avoid these common family dilemmas? This week’s Torah portion, Bereshit, includes the story of Cain and Abel and man’s first violent act: a lashing out of brother against brother based on family tension, jealousy and perceived favoritism. When Cain is asked, after he killed Abel, where his brother is, he answers, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Torah is clearly teaching that the answer is definitely YES to Cain’s question. What can we do in our families to...

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ROSH HASHANAH—An Opportunity for Personal Growth

ROSH HASHANAH — Rosh Hashanah is perceived as the Jewish New Year, but it is so much more than that. It is time to reflect on the quality of relationships with friends and family and compare yourself to the way you were a year ago. Rosh Hashanah, according to the tradition, gives you a time to make amends to family and friends. Use the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah to go through a process of introspection and evaluation with your family, thinking and talking about habitual problems and conflicts that are difficult to change. Seeing other family members,...

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